The onset of winter time also signals the beginning of children’s traditions. One of these is Sint Maarten.

On November 11th children in severals parts of The Netherlands celebrate Sint Maarten.

What is Sint Maarten?

What is Sint Maarten, you might wonder? On November 11th, children, often accompanied by parents, go door-to-door with homemade lanterns or carved pumpkins, singing songs. In return, they receive sweets from the people they have sung for. As a general rule, you should only ring the doorbells of houses with their lights on or where it’s evident that singing is welcome. If no one answers, respect their decision and move on to the next house.

Celebrating Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten, observed on November 11th, commemorates the burial of Sint Maarten in the year 397 AD. Also known as Martinus of Tours, he was renowned for his acts of helping and caring for others. One famous story tells of his act of giving half of his cloack to a beggar.

Sint Maarten is celebrated in honor of the kindness and compassion displayed by Sint Maarten. This day serves as a reminder of the importance of helping and caring of those in need.

Essentials for your child’s door-to-door singing

Here are a few essential items to prepare:

  • A functioning light for their homemade lantern, which can be found at stores like Kruidvat, Hema, or Blokker, as well as in supermarkets.
  • A sturdy bag to collect the earned sweets.
  • A small repertoire of Sint Maarten songs for the singing rounds.

Practicing Sint Maarten Songs

Do you like to practice Sint Maarten Songs with your kid(s)? You’ll find some examples on Youtube. or type in Sint Maarten 11 November to expand your reportoire.

Children singing at your doorstep: What to do?

If you have children singing at your doorstep, make sure you have enough sweets on hand, especially if you live in a child-populated neihborhood. Supermarkets often offer a wide range of candy bags around Sint Maarten. For a healthier alternative, consider offering mandarins or other fruits, but keep in mind that children might prefer sweets…. 😉

Some families go all out, decorating their paths with lights or placing a candle in the window to signal that children are welcome to sing.

if you’re not up for the fuss, it might be an excellent excuse to dine out for the evening. 😉

The festivities typically wrap up  around 8 pm.

Gettting prepared on time

To ensure a smooth Sint Maarten celebration, be sure to purchase lantern lights and batteries in advance, stock up on sweets or mandarins, and make it a beautiful, memorable event.

Happy Sint Maarten!